The Sun is Dangerous
This radio play is about a family in Oulu (northern Finland), about the ice in Greenland and about seeing while blind. Is seeing our shared agreement on how to experience the world or does it say more about what we don't want to see? Should we look more closely at dreams and at worlds that don't exist to others? The Sun is Dangerous is the story of a lower-class family living in a northern seaside town. It has two acts; the first is set in the 1980s, when the story's main character, the Boy, aged under ten, is blinded. The second act takes place in the 1990s, when the Boy regains his eyesight. The play is written in the Oulu dialect, making use of its characteristic, hacking rhythm. The Boy's father (the Man / Antero Veli Pennanen) is an incompetent loser, who has lost his self-esteem and lives in a fantasy world he calls "Greenland". The family lived happily in the mythical Greenland until an unfortunate sequence of events caused them to float off on an iceberg to Oulu -- specifically its working-class quarters in Tuira. In Tuira the family encounters nothing but difficulties: the Boy loses his eyesight; his father becomes marginalised, gets into trouble with the authorities and disappears; his mother is left to battle with everyday adversities and supporting her family. The martyr-like Mother wants to bring up her son to cope as an ordinary citizen, who might later atone for her sacrifices. The blind Boy lives in two realities that have been handed down to him: his father's Greenland and his mother's workaday Tuira, which intersect throughout the narrative. Unlike his parents, the Boy does not consider these parallel worlds or his own blindness to be a problem. The Mother feels the Boy has a right to see; the Man believes there is nothing to see in reality but crap. The Boy's friend –- the Girl –- is the only one who encounters the Boy as he is. He approves of her, because she does not see him as others see him. The Girl escapes her unstable family background to be close to the Boy, with whom she believes she can build a shared future. In the second act, the grown-up Boy undergoes an eye operation, partly to make amends for his father's sacrifices and to fulfil his mother's wishes; and partly due to the encouragement of his beloved Girl. As the Boy regains his vision, the "reality" he encounters is threatening and unpleasant and he can no longer escape it to Greenland. He must assume responsibility for his own life and decide what is important without being told. At the end, the Boy must encounter his mother's and his father's worlds and choose his own reality. The play's world is cruel. It reflects the coldness, indifference and ruthlessness from which the characters shield themselves as best they can. The lives of the family at the centre of the play are not filled with a desire for success, with new promises or with a better tomorrow. They are not interested in forced self-development or in growing as people; for them it is enough to make it through the day and through each moment in time. They are a family whose rights to their own lives and world have been removed. They either have to cope or to escape into an alternative reality where they can be left in peace. In EU jargon, they form the "hard core" that cannot be reached by any social policy measures.